True, Felicity Smoak is the love interest of Oliver Queen in Arrow but that's not her only role. She is the brains of the team, giving them information with her mind-blowing hacker skills. If you watched her back-story episode, you would bask in awe at her intelligence. She was able to make it from being the IT girl in Queen Consolidated to Vice President of Palmer Industries, not just because she's pretty but because she is fucking smart.
Intelligence isn't her only strong suit. Felicity Smoak is not just an emotional pillow for Oliver to pour all his main pain on. Yes, she comforts him, but she urges him to be a better person. She urges him to remember that he is still human and he doesn't have to suffer alone. She shows him that there could always be a brighter side of the story. In the midst of all the problems that the whole team experiences, whether its an ex-assassin blinded by revenge or an army with invincibility injected in their veins, she is their beacon of hope.
Felicity Smoak doesn't do martial arts like Black Canary or know how to wield a crossbow like Huntress. That's because she doesn't need to. She is strong by still walking in the Arrow headquarters with a bubbly and bright personality regardless of all the loss and hurt she has experienced.
Like we can actually blame her for being picked by Reverse Flash as a target. Like we can actually blame her for Barry's man-pain. On her own, she is a strong female character. From what I've watched, she is just more than somebody who sticks her nose into somebody else's business. She risks her life to give the people of Central City the truth and justice for the Flash. What makes her strong is that she stands up for what she believes in. She continues to run her blog on the Flash despite all the dangers she has experienced in the process of it, like being kidnapped by a metahuman. Remember that scene where she saves Barry from his bullies?
It's unlikely that Iris West would develop any superhero powers if CW follows the comic book canon. She doesn't need to be a metahuman to be strong.
See it's the setting that almost changes everything. Peggy Carter does somewhat fall under the stereotypical strong female character trope, knowing how to shoot a gun or wipe the floor with some guy's ass. But it's her patience that makes her strong. There are numerous quips from men on how Peggy shouldn't be working in the military because she's a woman or she's too pretty or etc. If she were to punch a man or even her boss in the face, she would fall under that stereotype of being a strong female character because she shouldn't take no shit from any man. But would that get her anywhere in that time period? Probably just the mental institution. She gets pissed at these quips but what does she do about it? She proves them wrong by not screaming in their faces or breaking their bones. She bears the pain of not being taken seriously till she can prove to them that she deserves to be here, even possibly more than those assholes who make fun of her.
This is the attitude that gets her to be the first head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Finally, television is giving us women role models to look up to in the superhero world. These characters are diverse in traits but all are considered to be strong in essence. They don't have superpowers because they don't need them in defeating the bad guys.
- Words by Anna Cayco and Illustrations by Eliza Espino